Contrary to popular belief, Sophie Kinsella’s best-selling novel “Confessions of a Shopaholic” is not a dramatization of my life, although in view of the fact that Rebecca Bloomwood ended up marrying a millionaire, I wish it was a story about me.
What do you do when you’re a self-confessed shopaholic without a job and running low on cash? If your answer is to thank whoever the genius was who invented credit cards, then you should be ashamed of yourself!
OK, so I do love my credit cards, but I’m proud to say I have never been their #1 customer because what they love is a customer who spends lots and never makes their repayment in full every month so that they can charge you a lot of interest while they continue to offer you a higher credit limit and more credit cards. Sorry, Mr Banker (admittedly, I was a Ms Banker in a former life), but you ain’t gonna get your mitts on my hard-earned cash that way! The government already has dibs on that privilege!
It is no big secret that I love to shop…well, that is not exactly true…I think I was always more in love with the ability to shop rather than the act of shopping itself. I usually only shop for specific things – birthday gifts, groceries, accessories for a particular outfit for a special occasion, etc. Occasionally, I would indulge in some retail therapy – which explains my big collection of clothes, bags, shoes, DVDs and books (nothing beats a paperback, no matter what people say about e-books!). Bargains are always exciting when you can get them as long as they are genuine although it can feel a bit ridiculous when you find sales of up to 70-80% off recommended retail price.
I’m pretty sure that shopaholism is a genetic disease. It runs in my family but affects each of us in different ways. My Dad is known to buy something he already has if it goes on sale after he has already paid full price for it. My sister, who recently moved house for the first time in 16 years, has suddenly become addicted to Bunnings (a hardware store, like the US Home Depot) where she has found stuff in the discount bin that she insists will be useful around the new house – my brother-in-law is still a little unconvinced but is willing to go with it for now.
My Mum recently bought the swivel sweeper she had seen in those home shopping ads. Apparently she had been lusting after one for years. She excitedly told me she got the buy-one-get-one-free deal (giving the second one to my sister but latest report is that my 8-year old nephew loves using it…child labour anyone? :)) and even better yet, she paid for standard delivery instead of the more expensive express delivery but got it within a couple of days anyway. This is the definition of “winning”, right?
I think you’ve got the picture. My family and I love to shop. But as I have been looking for work in the last few months, it has also meant I have had to curb my shopping habits. The one good lesson I have learnt from my upbringing is that, as much as I love to shop and indulge in pretty things, I have also always known how to save. Equally important is that I know how not to spend. Is it hard to do? Damn right it is. But every time I see something that I want to buy, and would have bought a few months ago without a second thought, I ask myself if I actually need that thing and if the answer is no, as it has been 99% of the time, then I put it back down and move on.
So if anyone else has any good tips on how to curb my shopaholism, I’d love to hear from you. In the meantime, staying away from shops is a good start…and probably should close the browser tab on the Amazon page now…